The day before Thanksgiving saw some great new releases, and coming out on top is the critically acclaimed Creed, based on the prior Rocky franchise. I’ll admit to being prejudiced, as I loved Rocky, but have to say, that this one pretty much beat out all the others, as far as I’m concerned.
Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) is the son of Apollo Creed, Rocky’s former rival and eventual friend. His father is dead but Adonis still wants to connect with him, so off he goes to Philadelphia, where we meet a contentedly retired Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) who is running his own Italian restaurant. Then, the champ comes out of retirement, this time to coach the hopeful newcomer into filling his deceased father’s shoes.
Despite the fact that this movie comes 39 years after the release of the original, it still has a nostalgic feel that helps fans of the original identify with the film. It’s your standard movie, where the underdog makes good, but it still works. Classics are classics for a reason, after all.
Jordan plays the plucky newcomer quite well, and brings a level of depth to a character that was at risk of becoming cliché. The training montages, love interests and fight scenes don’t feel like clichés. They feel comfortable and enjoyable. While you can see the punches coming from miles away, it’s still a great, and enjoyable effort.
That’s because they also managed to make this contemporary. They didn’t just regurgitate the same old stuff, but instead created a new and exciting movie about a character we can genuinely care about. The movie isn’t dependent on nostalgia, and Creed is a standalone rather than a sequel, but I could see another franchise come out of this.
One thing I like about this movie is that it didn’t go with the inner-city cliché. In the beginning of this. Adonis is actually a white collar worker who believes there’s something more. He doesn’t go to Philadelphia because it’s his last resort. It’s an attempt to find some common ground with a father he never knew.
It’s clear that the director has some affection for the Rocky franchise. He references the great, and the corniest moments of Rocky without being apologetic. He’s not filming this as some kind of tongue in cheek parody. Instead, it’s an homage to the original and a great work all its own.
Stallone is in his best part in decades, and kind of reminded me of Clint Eastwood in Million Dollar Baby. He has a kind of fragile air of mortality over a steely core that makes him seem incredibly authentic and believable. He really does shine in this movie.
This is absolutely worth the watch. If you haven’t taken the opportunity to see it, you’re missing out. You don’t need to have watched any of the prior Rocky movies, but it is helpful just to get an idea of the original Apollo Creed, who was easily one of the best characters in this series.
WE GAVE IT: 5 STARS! Watch the Official Trailer and See the Official Movie Poster below
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